With goalie Anthony Stolarz sidelined several months because of a knee injury, Alex Lyon figures to get a bulk of the duty this season for the AHL Phantoms — and could be in line for a call-up to the Flyers if Michael Neuvirth or Brian Elliott suffered an injury.
That makes this year’s camp — rookies were on the ice Monday, veterans will report Friday — extra significant for Lyon, 24, a former Yale standout who had a strong rookie year with Lehigh Valley last season.
“I felt coming into this year, with the summer I had and where I’m at physically and mentally, I was ready to take a step,” Lyon said after participating in the first day of the Flyers’ rookie camp Monday in Voorhees. “If Stolie was there, that was going to be a challenge. … But I’ve made a commitment to myself to see how good I can get and take it from there.”
Lyon, a political science major who is close to earning his bachelor’s degree from Yale, was 27-14 with 2.74 goals-against average and .912 save percentage with the Phantoms in 2016-17.
“We get a chance to see him build on last year — and he did a real good job,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “At times, he wasn’t a guy who was talked about a whole lot, but he did have a real solid year in Lehigh Valley. He’s just got to keep improving on that and keep building. I know he had a good summer and he’s very dedicated in the way he works at his game.”
Lyon said his inaugural pro season was a learning experience.
“My first year was so tumultuous, emotionally and mentally,” said Lyon, who hails from tiny Baudette, Minn., one of the highest points in the continental United States. “I honestly didn’t think the physical factor was as bad, but the lifestyle, the travel and that kind of stuff, took a lot of adjustment. Like a lot of rookies, I came in thinking there wasn’t going to be a big adjustment, but there was.”
Lyon stayed in the area all summer and trained in Voorhees, working out in the weight room and taking lots of shots from Shayne Gostisbehere and Cole Bardreau on the ice.
“I feel like I’m on the right track,” he said.
Carter Hart, 19, is the other goalie in rookie camp. … One of the rookie lines Monday had German Rubtsov centering Oskar Lindblom and Pascal Laberge, three players with huge upsides. Lindblom is expected to be one of the Flyers’ regular left wings this season. … Wednesday’s rookie game with the Islanders may be live-streamed by the Flyers, who should know for sure Tuesday. … Gostisbehere said his parents’ home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was spared damage from Hurricane Irma.